Nanga Parbat 2023

Nanga Parbat summit !

Press release · 26 June 2023 · Nanga Parbat base camp (Pakistan)


Sophie Lavaud, at the summit of Nanga Parbat, enters the legend of the 14 peaks over 8,000 metres high.


On 26 June 2023, by reaching the summit of Nanga Parbat in Pakistan, the 9th highest mountain in the world at 8126 m, French-Swiss-Canadian Sophie Lavaud completed her challenge: to climb all 14 of the world’s 8000 m summits. She has thus completed her Himalayan grand slam, an ambitious project that began in 2012.

Sophie Lavaud becomes the first French to have climbed all 14 of the world’s 8,000m summits, the first Swiss woman and the first Canadian.

On 26 June 2023, Sophie Lavaud made Himalayan history.


First French climber (man and woman)

In the history of Himalayan climbing, France was the first nation to plant its flag on a peak over 8000m: Annapurna (1950, Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal).

Surprisingly, given the high standard of French Himalayan climbing, none of the French climbers who attempted the 14 8000m summits survived their quest for the giants of the earth. Liliane & Maurice Barard, Chantal Mauduit, Benoit Chamoux, Jean-Christophe Lafaille, to name few of the most famous, all lost their lives in this journey for the Himalayan absolute.

Without having initially planned it, and without claiming to be a performer, Sophie Lavaud has become the first French person to complete this quest for all 14 8000m summits.


1st Swiss woman & 1st Canadian

Among the Swiss, it was the guide Erhard Loretan who first succeeded in climbing the fourteen 8000m (5 October 1995), becoming the 3rd man to do so after the Italian Reinold Messner (1986) and the Polish Jerzy Kukuczka (18 September 1987).

Sophie Lavaud is the first Swiss woman to achieve such a feat.


The same goes for Canada: with three passports, Sophie has achieved a hat-trick, as no Canadian before her has ever climbed the 14 giants!


Top 3 women and top 10 worldwide

Around forty men and women worldwide have climbed the 14 Himalayan giants. But with the new list unveiled in July 2022 (see inset), there are actually fewer than 10 men and women and only 3 women to have climbed the fourteen real summits over 8000 m: China’s Dong Hong Juan on 26 April 2023, followed by Norway’s Kristin Harila on 3 May 2023 and Sophie Lavaud on 26 June 2023.


Sophie’s list

It took Sophie Lavaud eleven years and twenty-two expeditions to reach the top of all fourteen peaks over 8000m spread between Nepal, China (Tibet) and Pakistan.


Chronology of his climbs:

2012: Shishapangma, central summit (8013 m, Tibet), and Cho Oyu (8188 m, Tibet)

2014: Everest (8850 m, Tibet)

2015: Gasherbrum II (8035 m, Pakistan)

2016: Makalu (8485 m, Nepal)

2017: Broad Peak (8051 m, Pakistan), Manaslu antecima (8163 m, Nepal)

2018: K2 (8611 m, Pakistan)

2019 : Annapurna I (8091 m, Nepal), Kangchenjunga (8586 m, Nepal), Gasherbrum I (8068 m, Pakistan)

2021 : Dhaulagiri (8167 m, Nepal)

2022 : Lhotse (8516 m, Nepal), Manaslu (8163 m, Nepal)

2023: Shishapangma (8027 m, Tibet), Nanga Parbat (8126 m, Pakistan)


New ranking: the true summit criterion in the 14 x 8000 race

Released in July 2022, geographer Eberhard Jurgalski’s ( new list, which examines the validity of summit proofs and takes into account true summits, has turned the rankings of the 14 x 8000 race upside down: “This stupid and nasty list doesn’t take into account style (alpine style, with or without oxygen), it just checks the validity of the race, in other words whether or not the summit has been reached,” explains topographer and columnist Rodolphe Popier. “Manaslu is an astonishing example: the first climbers found the summit, but three quarters of the official summiters didn’t”.

Those, like Sophie Lavaud, who are currently in the race, have realigned themselves with the new criteria, not hesitating to climb summits again to validate them.


Sophie’s style

It’s hard to guess that a mountaineer is hiding behind the fifty-year-old woman. Born in Lausanne on 15 May 1968, Sophie Lavaud stands out in the mountain world. Firstly, because this sales and marketing manager for the luxury hotel industry, then in cosmetics, is not a professional athlete. Secondly, she started mountaineering late in life, in her thirties. And lastly, because she is a “woman like everyone else”, a “simple” woman with unusual dreams, but who gives herself the means to realise them, at her own pace. Honest and modest, she has her own style, one summit after another, and then we’ll see.

With her climbing partner Dawa Sangay Sherpa, she has been on one expedition after another. She makes no secret of the fact that she uses oxygen if the need arises, particularly for safety reasons because she is cold and doesn’t want to lose her fingers. She makes a point of doing the acclimatisation stages and only takes oxygen the night before the summit from the last altitude camp for the final push.  However, she reached the summit of Gasherbrum 2 and Broad Peak without oxygen.


Step by step, in a modest way, it was after climbing Everest in 2014 that she set her sights on the grail of fourteen 8000m summits. At first, she kept this objective to herself. Although she’s not in the quest for a feat, or in the race for a record, far from the sprinters of the 8000, she has shown great determination in this undertaking. She’s made great progress since her first Mont-Blanc in 2004! That’s when she got hooked on altitude and summits. Dreaming of going ever higher, she organised her time around this passion. Then, after setting up an events company in finance with her brother, she ended up devoting herself 100% to her project, resigning from her last job in 2015 and managing to make ends meet, one expedition after another, thanks to benefactors, sponsors and partners.

In addition to her expeditions, Sophie Lavaud is a volunteer ambassador for the NGO Terre des hommes. She supports and gives visibility to projects that are close to her heart in the countries where her expeditions take place.

Also an ambassador for RECCO®, with Dawa Sangay Sherpa, Sophie organises training courses in Nepal and Pakistan to raise awareness of avalanche risks among high-altitude sherpas and porters.


With the success on Nanga Parbat, renowned as a dreadful 8000-metre climb with its very steep face and the famous “Kinshofer” wall, Sophie brings this long chapter of her life to a fitting close.

au sommet du Nanga Parbat, le 14ème sommet atteint !

itinéraire jusqu’au sommet du Nanga Parbat (voie Kinshofer)





Communiqué de presse :
(english version) Press release · 26 June 2023 · Nanga Parbat base camp (Pakistan) – Sophie Lavaud

Quelques articles média :

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Chères amies, chers amis,

Mais que c’est dur cette montagne !! Maudit Kinshofer !!
Notre acclimatation est terminée. Après la grosse chute de neige qui nous a cloué au camp de base, nous avons pu faire une première rotation et dormir au camp 1. Malheureusement ce camp d’altitude n’est qu’à 4900 m, donc peu efficace pour s’acclimater. Mais cette rotation nous a permis une première mise en jambe et un dépôt de matériel.
Notre petite troupe, François, Ulysse, Sangay, Imtyas et Mingma a pu faire une 2ème rotation et monter au camp 2 à 6100m. J’avais un mauvais souvenir de l’année dernière qui s’est confirmé cette année. Le couloir est épouvantablement long, 1000 m de dénivelé sans répit qui mènent au pied du mur Kinshofer. Il faut encore grimper 150 m en rocher avec un dièdre, une section en dévers et sortir sur l’arête. Arête effilée où seules quelques tentes peuvent tenir… Maigre consolation mais pas des moindre, les conditions de neige sont bien meilleures et donc la face est moins dangereuse.
J’adore la phrase d’Ulysse à son retour au camp de base : « une corde fixe n’est pas un ascenseur ! » 
Nous sommes prêts pour tenter le sommet, inchallah…

Je vous embrasse,

Nanga Parbat base camp
18 juin 2023

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#ReylIntesaSanPaolo #naefimmobilier #septfinance #Raiffeisen #futura21 #Famsafoundation #teamwork_vm #immobiliereromande
#MilletRiseUp #GrivelToEachTheirOwn #RECCO #BeSearchable #Caravanproductions #sportquestgeneva #airnoutdoor #tingerlaat #AltitudeEyewear #ogso #SevenSummitTreks #Tdh_india_nepal #naef_immobilier

Chères amies, chers amis,

Quand ça démarre mal ça ne peut qu’aller mieux ensuite !

Partie de Kathmandu malade avec Dawa Sangay, nous avons retrouvé François Damilano et Ulysse Lefebvre qui vont nous accompagner avec leur caméra tout au long de cette expédition. Nous avons enchainé les 14 heures de bus sur la fameuse Karakoram Highway de Islamabad à Chilas.
Deux jours de marche plus tard, 2800m de dénivelés sous un soleil de plomb et toujours mal foutue nous atteignons le camp de base du Nanga Parbat à 4220m.
A peine le camp monté et la neige fait son apparition… 4 jours non-stop d’intempéries et presque 1 mètre de neige complique notre installation et une belle diarrhée me torpille le ventre histoire de compléter le tableau !
J’ai également mon sac avec tout mon équipement technique envoyé par cargo depuis Kathmandu bloqué à la douane pakistanaise et nos deux sherpas qui doivent venir compléter notre équipe sont toujours au Népal…. Tout va très bien madame la marquise !

Mais comme je dis les choses s’améliorent, aujourd’hui le soleil est de retour, le rhume est guéri, le ventre va beaucoup mieux, le sac est en route et les sherpas quittent Kathmandu demain…
On devrait pouvoir commencer à grimper… ! 🙂

Je vous embrasse,

Nanga Parbat base camp
5 juin 2023

#ReylIntesaSanPaolo #naefimmobilier #septfinance #Raiffeisen #futura21 #Famsafoundation #teamwork_vm #immobiliereromande
#MilletRiseUp #GrivelToEachTheirOwn #RECCO #BeSearchable #Caravanproductions #sportquestgeneva #airnoutdoor #tingerlaat #AltitudeEyewear #ogso #SevenSummitTreks #Tdh_india_nepal

Chères amies, chers amis,

Et oui le ShishaPangma est déjà loin et nous sommes sur les derniers préparatifs avant de s’envoler demain pour Islamabad.
Entre temps, quelques jours de repos à Kathmandu puis je suis allée dans cette magnifique vallée du Khumbu jusqu’au camp de base de l’Everest.
L’idée était d’y retrouver Dawa Sangay qui a fait partie d’une équipe de sherpas qui encadrait 3 clients ukrainien. Il est resté au col sud à 7900m et les a attendus à leur retour du sommet. L’équipe a réussi et tout le monde est redescendu saint et sauf au camp de base après 6 jours qu’a duré leur summit push dans des conditions difficiles et une météo capricieuse.
Malgré tout ce qui se dit, l’Everest, 8848m reste de mon point de vue une montagne très difficile et dangereuse…
L’idée pour moi d’aller au camp de base à 5350m durant quelques jours était de garder mon acclimatation. J’ai malheureusement attrapé un bon rhume mais d’ici aux choses sérieuses du Nanga Parbat, je vais avoir le temps de récupérer, je ne suis pas inquiète ! 🙂

Prochaines news depuis le Pakistan… et encore un GRAND merci à tous ceux qui rendent cela possible !

Je vous embrasse,

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